• In 2007 the United States began its campaign of “precision” air strikes in Somalia, targeting the Islamic insurgent group al-Shabab, and more recently ISIS. Over the past three years the Pentagon says it has carried out 148 air attacks, killing between 900 and 1,000 people. The U. S Africa Command, or Africom long maintained that all of those killed in the attacks were targeted “terrorists.” Last year Amnesty International investigated six U.S. air strikes and concluded they caused 17 civilian casualties. Africom has since admitted that one of their attacks did result in two civilian deaths.
(“The ‘Collateral Damage’ of the U.S.’s Unofficial War in Somalia,” In These Times, Dec. 16, 2019)
• In the Democratic Party presidential nomination campaign attention has recently began to focus on former Vice President Joe Biden’s strong support of an anti-consumer bankruptcy law passed by Congress in 2005. Biden backed credit card companies, based in his native Delaware, to include in the legislation limits on consumer rights during bankruptcy. The law prevents students from seeking protection from onerous student loans, as it permits the wealthy to exploit the system to hide their assets from creditors.
(“Warren’s Latest Plan Signals That It’s Time to Talk About Joe Biden’s Record,” American Prospect, Jan. 7, 2020)
• Progressive Democratic New York Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is proposing a bill to redefine the level of US poverty, that could move out of committee in coming weeks. AOC’s Recognizing Poverty Act calls on federal agencies to review the resources required to pay for basic goods and services, including “new necessities” like Internet access, for the first time since 1963. According to the American Prospect, the current poverty line is $12,500 for an individual and $26,000 for a family of four, regardless of which part of the country the live. By this definition, 38 million Americans currently live in poverty, with an additional 93 million more “living close to poverty,” according to the most recent Census data from 2018.
(“The Left-Right Battle Over Defining Poverty,” The American Prospect, Jan. 7, 2020)
This week’s News Summary was narrated by Richard Hill.